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Street Fighter 5 guide: controls

Street Fighter 5 is played with a basic eight directions of movement and six attack buttons. If you're playing on a controller, we strongly recommend that you use the d-pad rather than the analog stick. Like keyboard and mouse versus analog stick in first-person shooters, the analog stick is outright inferior in reaction speed and precision alike. It will handicap you.


We're going to talk about back and forward. These are always relative to the opponent. If you're facing right, forward is right. If you're facing left, forward is left. Special move commands also reverse depending on which side of the screen you're facing, so start thinking about forward and back rather than left and right.

Pad or stick? (or …)

You have probably seen the expensive arcade sticks that many top players use. Does the gear improve their ability? No. The gear looks nice and feels good to use, but it doesn't actually confer any gameplay advantages.

However, fighting games— even those made specifically for home consoles, like Street Fighter 5 — tend to have been designed with arcade sticks in mind. The kinds of motions and button combinations you see in Street Fighter were designed to be done on the arcade stick by moving your wrist and tapping with your fingers, rather than on a console pad by moving your thumbs. As such, many players, myself included, find it easier to play on an arcade stick. I find that the lighter controls of an arcade stick lead to significantly less of the kind of repetitive stress strain I get when I'm playing, say, Rocket League or Crazy Taxi on a controller.

That being said, the only real rule is to use what works for you. Comfort and preference come down to the player. I've seen Xbox 360 controllers — perhaps the worst controller ever designed for 2D games short of the U-Force — used in tournaments and players who make them work. If you do use a controller, though, I recommend the Hori Fighting Commander line. If you go for a stick, skip the cheap stuff and go directly for a high-end stick: They're expensive. but they're reliable and made to last. I wish a decent entry level stick existed, but anything below $100 is either pretty abysmal or likely to break within a year.

  1. Intro
  2. What am I trying to do in this game?
  3. Controls
  4. Basic movement
  5. Basic attacks
  6. The poke game
  7. Knockdowns
  8. Special moves
  9. Control and execution
  10. Combos
  11. Counter and crush counter
  12. Critical meter and critical arts
  13. V-System
  14. Stun gauge
  15. Dealing damage and combos
  16. Character select
  17. Advanced techniques
  18. Good buttons
  19. What’s different in Street Fighter 5 Season 2?
  20. This is just the beginning

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